Tips for Table Setting

Do you ever wonder which fork to use?

Dinner is no longer just a means of sustenance, but also a place of social gatherings and ritual. The type of dining occasion usually dictates how a table is set. At an informal meal the menu tends to be more simple and therefore the serving pieces required are less extensive.

While many of use grew up with our grandmothers setting the table with their good set of silver and fine bone china, today things have changed. There is more of a tendency to mix things up a little bit. According to Suzanne von Drachenfels in her book, The Art of the Table, “a table set entirely with plain patterns lacks impact...But a table laid totally with ornate designs distracts the eye and full appreciation of the table setting is lost.” I’d like to suggest that you decorate the table with some of your favourite pieces. Change it up, depending on the season or holiday with a variety of seasonal serviettes, placemats or tablecloths. We’ve set our Easter holiday table with our Denby Jet pattern of tableware — a versatile and stylish tableware pattern that goes effortlessly from the oven to the table. We’ve added simple elegance with our Riedel glassware, and rather than silverware, we’ve used a simple yet sophisticated flatware pattern from Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

Table Setting Tips

The general rule with utensils is to start from the outside of your place setting, working your way toward the service plate (the main meal plate).

  • A: Serviette
  • B: Service plate
  • C: Soup bowl on plate
  • D: Bread & butter plate with butter knife
  • E: Water glass
  • F: White wine
  • G: Red wine
  • H: Fish fork
  • I: Dinner Fork
  • J: Salad Fork
  • K: Service knife
  • L: Fish knife
  • M: Soup spoon
  • N: Desert spoon and cake fork

Note: It is often recommended that the salad fork (J) be placed next to the dinner fork (I). However, in this formal setting the dinner fork is placed to be used before the salad fork because it is suggested that the guest awaits the main meal before helping themselves to salad.

Did you know…

Tableware Facts

In the middle ages silverware was regarded as too valuable to be arranged on a table and was placed on a side table, next to where the meal was being eaten.

Until the industrial revolution the use of cutlery was limited primarily to the nobility & upper class.

The proper way to eat soup is to move the soup spoon away from your body, filling it to approximately 2/3 of its capacity. Then sip the liquid sideways without inserting the whole bowl of the spoon into the mouth.

If something proves inedible, the proper way to remove it from your mouth is using the same method that it went into your mouth. For example, since an olive usually goes into your mouth by hand, remove the pit discreetly by hand.

Elbow room requires a minimum of 15 inches between place settings.

Cup handles are faced in a four o’clock position for easy access.

Indicate you are finished your meal by placing your fork and knife together, diagonally across your plate (from the 10 to 4 o’clock positions).